Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic first played together at Miami in March 2017, but began their partnership with a 7-7 record. According to Marach, their lack of early success led to a discussion about splitting up three months later in Stuttgart, where they would go on to reach the final, falling short against Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.
“I like to forget it,” Marach joked of the match Friday.
Seven months later, you’d never think splitting was ever a possibility for the Austrian-Croatian duo. After a Grand Slam final at Wimbledon, the pair’s first title together at Stockholm and a match win at the Nitto ATP Finals (d. Bryan/Bryan) as alternates, Marach and Pavic were flying high.
And after earning their second title together at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open with an impressive triumph over none other than Murray and Soares, the top seeds, 6-2, 7-6(6), Marach and Pavic are still on the rise.
“We played the whole week really great tennis,” Marach said. “Especially for me it was very important. I didn’t know how I would play because I had not a great winter, I was injured. Then I came here just three or four practices and if you look at that, that we’re now the winners here, it’s amazing.”
The second seeds dominated the field without dropping a set in Doha. Six of the eight sets they won were by margins of 6-3 or greater.
“It’s one of my favourite tournaments at the beginning of the year and we had a great week,” Pavic said. “From the beginning on we were playing just better and better and today was a great match.”
The biggest complication for Marach and Pavic came in the second-set tie-break, while holding match points on Pavic’s serve at 6/3 and 6/4. Soares and then Murray came up with arguably their best returns of the match to re-gain two mini-breaks and then knotted the tie-break at 6/6 on Soares’ serve.
But as they did all week, Marach and Pavic had the answer. The Croatian left-hander hit a tremendous inside-out forehand winner to earn another match point, which the pair did not waste. Marach hit a forehand approach shot that Murray could not handle to clinch the title as well as the 250 ATP Rankings points and $69,870 for the team that comes with it.
It was still a strong start to the campaign for Nitto ATP Finals semi-finalists Murray and Soares, who leave Doha with 150 points and $36,730 to share.
ProTV team in action on the fifth day of Qatar ExxonMobil Open at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash complex in Doha, Qatar. ProTV is the Technical provider (HB operation) for the Host Broadcaster beINsports.